Lamb jerky

Lamb jerky

Best Kitchen Basics
Petrina Tinslay

In times past, if one killed a beast one had a couple of choices – eat as much as you could before it went off and/or the wolves got you. Or preserve it in some way to prolong its benefit and sanctify the slaughter of the poor beast.

Jerky is an American term and probably originated with the indigenous cultures of South America. The Boer of South Africa also preserved anything they could shoot as biltong, using sun and salt. These are a couple of examples I discovered in a pub as a young man.


Quantity Ingredient
4 fresh bay leaves, finely chopped
1 bunch thyme, finely chopped
30g coarse sea salt
10g raw sugar
4 x 300g lamb rumps
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 star anise


  1. Mix the bay leaves and thyme together with the salt and sugar.
  2. Rub an equal amount of this dry marinade over each of the rumps. Wrap each rump in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Unwrap the parcels and pat the lamb dry. Place the meat in the freezer for around 2 hours to partially freeze it.
  4. Remove the lamb from the freezer and slice each rump as thinly as possible, across the grain, using a very sharp knife or meat slicer if you have one. Place the sliced lamb on non-stick baking trays without any overlapping.
  5. Preheat the oven to 50°C.
  6. In a spice grinder, or using a mortar and pestle, grind the fennel seeds, peppercorns, cumin seeds and star anise to a fine powder. Using a tea strainer, sift the spice mixture over each piece of rump to evenly season it. Place the lamb in the oven and dry it overnight until crisp. Eat immediately or store for 2–3 days in an airtight container.


  • Use this technique for any type of meat (or fish). The herbs and spices are changeable as suits your desire.
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